Movie Review: White House Down


Release Date: November 5, 2013
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 137 min
Director: Roland Emmerich
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Genre: Action, Thriller
Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, James Woods


It’s that time of the year to parade out the new line of “summer movies”. That means lots of big names, big budgets, and even bigger and/or more bountiful explosions in our cinema fare. There have already been a few acclaimed hits thrown at moviegoers and now White House Down hopes to enter that pantheon of box office champions. The movie has all the right ingredients of a “by the numbers” summer flick. There are the big names (Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx) and a big budget ($150 million reportedly). Also included are copious amounts of explosions strewn throughout the 2 hours of footage. So why does this movie seem doomed to wallow in summer movie purgatory?

That may lie in the fact that this movie has nothing new to offer. There was a little movie called Olympus Has Fallen a few months back, that was done better. Sure, the tone was more serious than this movie, but the too similar scenarios give White House Down a “been there seen that” type of feel to it. The “Van Damme” era plot premise also doesn’t do wonders for the film. The synopsis is that John Cale is turned down for his dream job as a Secret Service agent. Just as he and his daughter (whom he brought on a bonding visit to the White House) were on a tour of the building, terrorists take over and hold the visitors and the President of the United States hostage. Now it is up to Cale to save the President, save his daughter and save the U.S.A. from the dastardly fiends. Weak story aside, the performance from Foxx as Presdient Sawyer seemed to be rested somewhere between an amalgamation of Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. I just don’t like it. John Cale, is a ho-hum John McClane clone (right down to the white t-shirt he sports most of the movie). I kept waiting for him to say, “Yippie kay yay motherf****r” at one point or another. The other performances were nothing to rave about.

The jokes were there, but none hit the mark like they needed to. I found myself chuckling a little, but I can’t say I remember any specific jokes off the top of my head. The action was O.K. but there has been so much better executed stuff. Overall, White House Down was a downer. I give it 2.5 out of 5.